Lighting is the key to creating a functional, inviting, and cozy living space. Here are ten ways to do it.

Living rooms are the focal point of Colorado homes. It’s where we relax after a long workday, and where families gather to watch movies and entertain friends. That’s why it’s essential to create an inviting and comfortable living room!


Not to mention that a cozy living room enhances the richness and quality of daily life, making you and your family feel happier and safer as you rest and unwind in your sanctuary. 


We encourage customers to use lighting in ways to create inspiring and comfortable homes, homes that fulfill your vision of what’s beautiful. Because, adding personality, style, and function to your living room with layers of elegant lighting enhances your experience of home and improves your quality of life. 


Here are ten ways to use lighting to make your living room more inviting and serene. 

1. Create a feeling of warmth with ambient lighting.


Ambient lighting ricochets indirect light off the ceiling, giving your living room subtle warmth that makes people feel comfortable and relaxed. 


There are different ways to create ambient light in your living room. You can install cove lighting or a cantilever detail with LED lighting inconspicuously tucked inside, or, you can place linear LED lighting atop lofty furniture pieces, like bookcases or cabinets. Many designers also install wall sconces to project upward light to achieve a comforting, warm, inviting, and serene living room.

2. Set the mood with three levels of lighting: high, medium, and low.


It’s essential to have three levels of lighting: high, particularly if your living room has unique materials like plaster or wood, or if the ceiling is vaulted; medium, which includes wall lighting; and low, including floor and table lamps. 


We like to use living room up-lights to create an overall glow that acts as mood lighting. Our team also often uses recessed lights to illuminate table surfaces, art, and fireplaces.


In the mid-level area, wall sconces add a jewelry-like effect to living rooms and are your opportunity to introduce another material, like glass, metal, or fabric. 


*Pro-tip: designers also frequently use wall-mounted lights in bronze or brass to create a glamorous sparkle.

3. Use table lamps and floor lamps for form and function.


Floor lamps and table lamps create layers of illumination around seating areas, like little islands of serene light in your living room. They add form and function to the room, and, from a design perspective, floor lamps and table lamps enhance visual character by allowing you to play with scale, contrast, materials, and color.

4. Create a central focal point with a sculptural pendant lamp or chandelier.


Attention-grabbing pendants and chandeliers are a perfect launching point for your comfortable and well-designed living room. Place either fixture style in the center of your space to establish a central focal point from which to design the rest of the room. 


Why? Because starting with statement pieces like a chandelier or pendant lamp makes it easy to select the rest of the rooms’ lighting and furnishings. Designers use a similar approach when they pick a statement rug as the foundation of the overall room design.

5. Take control with dimmers.


Dimmers are a worthwhile investment. They allow you to set the mood for entertaining and daily life, and you can adjust light levels as day turns to night. If you are using LED’s (and you should), it’s crucial to select dimmers compatible with your selected light sources (don’t worry, we can help). Most lighting manufacturers list compatible dimmers on spec sheets and websites. And with the proliferation of smart technologies, in many instances, you can control light levels with your phone.

6. Get strategic with lamp and fixture placement.


You don’t want to blast the top of someone’s head with light, or worse, blind comfortably seated visitors with an errant bulb. Light the coffee table instead of sofas and chairs, and place sconces in areas outside of natural traffic patterns. For example, flanking the fireplace mantel or on walls where people have plenty of room to move around them. 

Also, lighting should trace the perimeter of your living room. Use sconces or a continuous light strip at the ceiling’s edge to trace and anchor the room with inviting illumination.

7. Your living room lighting mantra is texture, scale, color, and shape.


Like all things interior design-related, when it comes to living room lighting, you’ll want to play around with texture, color, scale, and shape. 


As we mentioned in point four, a large and dramatic pendant lamp or chandelier is the jumping-off point for the rest of the room’s lamps and fixtures. Use a large and dramatic fixture as the foundation for the remaining layers (more on layered lighting below), and play with various sizes, contrasting materials like metal, fabric, wood, and glass, and don’t overlook the importance of color. 

8. It’s all about layers.


Layers of light are crucial for creating an inviting, comfortable, and functional living room, and there’s no single lamp or fixture that’s going to give you everything that’s needed to get the job done. The proper layers of ambient, accent, and task lighting brings your room to life.


Layered lighting is the key to making your living room more inviting. But getting it right isn’t as easy as placing a lamp in each corner of the room. We could write a book covering the details of layered lighting, but you’d be better of dropping by and working with our expert lighting consultants.

9. Use light to accentuate architectural features and art


Framed photos, art, and interesting architectural details add visual character to your living room and make the space uniquely yours. You should accentuate them!


There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to lighting architectural features and art, but there are a few things to consider. Do you want to illuminate the art or feature directly, or have pieces live in a well-lit room? Whatever route you choose, it’s best to avoid natural light. Direct sunlight exposes paintings and photographs to UV and infrared light and causes them to fade. Position pieces away from sources of bright natural light to avoid damage.

10. More lighting isn’t’ always better.


Over-lighting is one of the most common lighting mistakes customers make in their living rooms. People gravitate toward bright spaces like moths to a flame, but in living rooms, where you want family and guests to feel comfortable and at ease, too much light is a mood killer. Be intentional in lighting your living room, and rely on a central chandelier or pendant, a few sconces, and table and floor lamps to illuminate the room.


*Pro-tip: a pendant or chandelier in the middle of a room makes a big impression; start with a remarkable fixture to design the living room around.

Colorado homeowners spend hours agonizing over the perfect seating, and days pondering the ideal shade of paint, but often overlook proper lighting. And in a room where you relax, watch television, entertain guests, and read, light serves a crucial purpose in both the style and function of the space. 


Whether you realize it or not, lighting is the subtle element that changes your experience of home. The ten tips in this blog will set you on the path to creating a comfortable, beautiful, and serene living room.

Need help in creating a comfortable and inviting living room? Drop by one of our two locations and chat with a lighting specialist.